Tag Archives: Advanced Cancer Research

Where Your Body Stores Fat May Predict Where You May Get Cancer

Where You Store Fat is Important
Where You Store Fat is Important

Excess weight has long been recognized as a risk factor for developing cancer. According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer, where body fat is carried can be another indicator of obesity-related cancer risk.

Body Shape Can Increase Cancer Risk

The study, conducted by scientists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization, were the first to compare adult body measurements in a standardized way. Data was obtained from 43,000 participants, 1,600 of whom had been diagnosed with an obesity-related cancer, and who were observed over an average of 12 years.

Results showed that an additional four inches added to the waistline equated to a 13 percent increase in the risk for obesity-related cancers. More significantly, adding three inches to the hips can boost the risk of bowel cancer by 15 percent.

How Can Obesity Cause Cancer?

Obesity is the second largest preventable cause of cancer behind smoking. Excess body fat alters the level of sex hormones, triggering an increase in production of insulin, ultimately leading to inflammation. All three factors have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Dr. Heinz Freisling, lead author of the study, explains that further investigation is needed to explore the connection between cancer and fat carried around the midsection, but results indicate that body shape should be considered along with body mass index (BMI) when evaluating cancer risk.

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Cancer Research Embraces the Age of Super Computing

Supercomputers Catapult Speed of Research Ahead.
Supercomputers Catapult Speed of Research Ahead.

Can technology be the key that unlocks the secret to curing cancer? A report from the Cancer Moonshot Task Force confirmed the importance of supercomputers to research focusing on immunotherapy for cancer and other effective treatments.

HPC: A High-Tech Weapon Against Cancer

The Cancer Moonshot program originated in 2016 with the support of then-Vice President Joe Biden. At the time, Energy Secretary Ernie Monitz, a member of the task force, wrote about the role of high performance computing (HPC) in analyzing complex databases to identify patterns and other vital information.

How Cancer Researchers Use HPC

HPC systems such as the one at the Texas Advanced Computing Center use seven basic methodologies to understand cancer biology and possible treatments.

• Molecular simulations of protein and drug interactions help to create more effective treatments.

• Bioinformatics unravel the complexities of cancer genomes.

• Mathematical modeling is used to develop formulas that predict how cancer will behave.

• Quantum calculations help to refine radiation therapies.

• Computational treatment planning creates the pinpoint accuracy required to prevent radiation from damaging organs and healthy tissues.

• Computational trial design is used in immunotherapy for cancer to gauge the correct combination of dosages.

• Machine learning is how researchers develop algorithms and other statistical methods to analyze and interpret massive datasets.

Cancer Treatment Is Not “One Size Fits All”

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Family’s 1,200 Mile Bike Ride to Fund Cancer Research

Family Raises Money for Pediatric Cancer
Family Raises Money for Pediatric Cancer

Getting creative can always help with a cancer awareness campaign. For one family in Michigan, that meant climbing on a bicycle built for three and setting out on a six-week fundraising bike trek from a Detroit suburb to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Karl and Eva Helminen have participated in many cancer fundraising efforts over the years, and they are also avid cyclists. As part of the Great Cycle Challenge USA program, they spent May 25 to July 5 on a bike with their 10-year-old son pedaling along, too. Their bulldog, Duchess, lent moral support and enjoyed restaurant leftovers along the way.

For the Helminens, the trip represented a special opportunity to help fundraise for childhood cancer treatment. As many families can relate, the Helminens have numerous family members and friends whose lives have been affected by cancer.

How Fundraising Events Help Cancer Treatment

Cancer awareness events can take many forms besides the typical walk or 5k run. Getting people talking and learning about cancer treatment and research projects is always the real goal.

The proceeds from cancer research events often get used to fund research to address difficult-to-treat types of cancer, including advanced stages, rare types, and cases that resist standard cancer therapeutic approaches.

At Issels® Integrative Immuno-Oncology, we see firsthand how innovative treatments can lead to cancer remission. Our therapies include targeted protocols to destroy cancer cells as well as immune enhancement that boosts the body’s existing cancer-killing capabilities.

The fight against cancer still has a long path ahead, but awareness and research are making inroads. Contact Issels® to learn more about our non-toxic immunotherapy cancer treatment.

Medical University of South Carolina’s Antibody Treatment Research Holds Promise

Immunotherapy for Cancer
Immunotherapy for Cancer using Antibody Treatment

Researchers continue to make strides in discovering new cancer immunotherapy methods that help doctors successfully target tumor cells. As revealed in a recently published report, a team of scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have created a promising antibody-based therapy using a specific diagnostic marker known as GARP.

When Immune Cells Fail

Numerous studies have focused on TGF-beta, which is a protein used by regulatory T-cells (Tregs) to direct immune cells away from healthy cells. Malignant tumors get around this by releasing vast amounts of TGF-beta, essentially hijacking Tregs and causing them to suppress immune cell activity against the cancer cells.

GARP is the only known receptor that lets TGF-beta dock on cell surfaces. The MUSC team set out to determine whether GARP was the means by which tumor cells were able to harness TGF-beta.

Is GARP the Key to Activating Tregs?

After finding that GARP levels were higher in certain types of tumors, the team conducted a test in which they removed the GARP gene from mice with mammary tumors. As a result, the tumors grew more slowly and there was little metastasis to the lungs.

The MUSC team then used human GARP in mice to develop antibodies. Their hope is that in the future, cancer immunotherapy in conjunction with GARP antibodies will result in more effective treatment for breast cancer.

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Strategic T Cells Use May Be the Key to Effective Cancer Treatment

Advanced T Cells

T cells are the warriors of your immune system, but the ongoing battle against cancer can sap them of their disease-fighting powers. New research has discovered crucial information about these “exhausted” cells that can lead to more powerful immunotherapy for cancer.

The fundamental difference between active and exhausted T cells lies in their gene patterns. One example is PD-1, a protein expressed by exhausted T cells that prevents them from attacking both healthy and diseased cells. Checkpoint inhibitors can block PD-1, but their use is productive in only 25 percent of cases.

Can “Exhausted” T Cells Be Revived?

According to Nicholas Haining of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, senior author of the report posted in the journal Science, the goal of the study was to determine whether exhausted T cells are simply run-down versions of functional T cells or a separate type entirely. Regulatory regions of T cell genomes were mapped using chronically infected mice as subjects.

Results showed that the two types of cells are controlled by completely different wiring. In a separate study, use of checkpoint inhibitors gave the exhausted T cells a temporary boost, but did nothing to convert them to an active state.

The researchers hope this information will help to improve CAR T-cell therapy, in which T cells are removed from a patient and retrofitted to attack tumor cells. Complete mapping of regulatory regions will provide more precise targets for treatment.

Immunotherapy for Cancer Focuses on Tumors and Their Causes

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Cancer May Be Carried in Your DNA – Should Testing Be Offered?

Cancer Can Be Caused at The DNA Level

Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and poor diet, can affect your chances of developing cancer, but some people carry a high risk for the disease

in their DNA. The medical community is currently debating whether widespread genetic testing will do more harm than good.

Would Lower-Cost Tests Mean Greater Accessibility?

BRCA-related cancers occur when the genes that produce tumor-preventing proteins mutate to the point where they lose that ability. These genetic changes result in higher risk of breast, prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancers as well as melanoma.

Testing can normally run into thousands of dollars, making it generally available only via insurance coverage to individuals with a strong family history of cancer. But biotech companies have come up with viable tests that cost less than $500.

When Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Experts such as Mary-Claire King, the award-winning geneticist who originally identified the BRCA1 gene, think that the new testing methods should be considered routine like Pap smears and mammograms. Others are not convinced.

Why is caution needed with the new genetic testing?

• Genetics is not a cut-and-dried specialty, and not all variations can be interpreted correctly.

• Some companies sell these tests directly to consumers without clear information about limitations and risks.

At this point, knowing your family history is still the best indicator of a possible genetic link to cancer.

Genomic Testing and Immunotherapy for Cancer

At Issels®, our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are personally developed to allow for individual factors such as genetic predisposition and lifestyle. Visit our website to learn more about our state-of-the-art protocols such as cancer vaccines and NK cells.